Tourism Industry in Canada
About Canada's Tourism Industry
The tourism industry in Canada has an impressive history, given its impact on the country’s economic growth, longevity and appeal. Canada is the second largest country in the world, expectedly; the land has much to offer for tourists, and has been doing so in excess for the past 25 years. With almost $80 billion in economic activity as well as the employment of 600,000 Canadians, the tourism industry in Canada is undoubtedly instrumental to the nation’s economic health. Tourism in Canada stretches from the western ends of Vancouver till the eastern Prince Edward Island. Unfortunately for Canada however, time has not been kind. Internationally, tourism is ever expanding. This growth puts the tourism industry as the fourth-fastest growing sector in the global economy statistically speaking. With the competitiveness of the industry, Canada has historically experienced some halts in development of its tourism industry and has even seen annual declines in financial reports. An example in decline of Canada’s tourism is the comparison of global arrival rankings between the years 2002 and 2011. In 2002, Canada was 7th in the world for international flight arrivals, dropping down to 18th place in 2011. Considering all facts, the industry is not one to be ignored, but is in need of further development to remain competitive in the international market.
Technological changes within the industry
Advancements of any sort are fundamental to the expansion of any industry. Specific to most industries in the 21st century are technological advancements, which have proven to grow businesses and entire industries exponentially within short periods of time. This is true for the tourism industry in Canada as well, with the biggest technological change being that of electronic payment. $196 billion has been contributed to the Canadian economy in the last 25 years, which represents 25% of the total economic growth in Canada during this time. Directly affected by this are all large industries, tourism and otherwise. Over the past 15 years, close to 61% of tourist spending in Canada has been through some form of electronic payment, usually credit or debit cards. Another contributing technological advancement which has aided the growth of the tourism industry in Canada is that of online booking and reservation websites. These websites are innovations in the industry, and have supplemented the expansion of tourism trade globally. Booking.com is one of the leaders in online hotel booking and reservation as the name would lead you to believe. In Canada, Booking.com lists 21,600 accommodations, which translates into the majority of reservations for hotels being made on the web site. The two technological advancements of electronic payment and online hotel reservation are the cornerstones to 21st century development in the tourism industry in Canada.
Every business is in need of constant improvement and development in order to stay relevant and prosperous. This translates into entire industries undergoing changes overtime which may completely remodel the manner in which business had been conducted previously. In Canada, the tourism industry has experienced a lack of development and has in some cases regressed in the past few years. In order to counteract this, many new processes of business have been undergone in several fields. Tourism marketing is one of the areas Canada has been working continuously on, which has yielded some benefit. The issue with Canada’s tourism marketing is that relative to other countries, Canada’s marketing budget is much smaller than that of other countries. Despite this, there has been notable success in consumer-directed advertisements employed by the Canadian Tourism Commission. In 2011, these ad campaigns inspired almost 323,000 international tourists to come to Canada. Other areas in which a large deviation from the standard model of business has occurred in recent years is that of distribution. It must be noted that 95% of the total spending on tourism in Canada is on overnight visitation. The primary commodity in Canada’s tourism industry is accommodation space. Distribution has seen an enormous restructuring over the years. This has been done through online portals which allow consumers to book and reserve rooms online, this method of distribution accounts for 65.7% (reported in 2012) of all bookings in the international market, and Canada is no exception. The primary example for this change in distribution is that of Booking.com. Listing 21,600 accommodations in Canada and being the largest international travel site to date, Booking.com has complete control over Canada’s tourism inventory and the manner in which it is controlled.
New attitudes and trends
Overtime, trends and attitudes of consumers change. It is the responsibility of any business and industry at large to quickly adapt and accommodate for these changes in order to maintain relevance and consistency. Tourism is a rapidly expanding industry in the global market, with consumer making new demands that are elementary for companies to adapt to. An example of a trend in the tourism industry is the demand for online connectivity. With overnight visitation holding a large portion of the industry’s revenue, adapting to the consumer online connectivity needs is essential for all hotels in Canada. This has been implemented overtime however, and it is rare to see any respectable hotel that does not offer WiFi options. Booking.com reports that Canada has 24,967 hotels with WiFi, which is evidence of change being made to meet consumer demands. Another trend worthy of discussion is that of the millennial age moving towards adventurous lodging instead of comfort. This is a need that will impose itself on the Canadian tourism industry, which can be accommodated by the promotion of the many outdoor activities and sites.